Jane Hansen 298.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
If headlines screamed, "Over one billion people living today will become infected with deadly avian flu," government health agencies would spring into action to stop it.
But another pandemic that screams for attention could be even more deadly for women. One third of the 3.3 billion females on the planet today are or will be "abused." Sexual abuse, slavery, mutilation, beatings and false imprisonment await, according to surveys by such organizations as the UN, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The statistics sweep from the female elderly to the young female infants.
The UN General Assembly defines violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."
Abuse is an equal opportunity sin. In 2007, all nations still face relentless, systematic and widely tolerated, if not explicitly condoned abuse of women. Domestic violence alone crosses all demographic, ethnic, religious and economic barriers. Ministers, day laborers and businessmen abuse their wives.
The question is not whether such abuse exists. The question is why?
Many point to religious texts and traditions to justify such practices--abuse in the name of God. Religious traditions beget female genital mutilation and worse. A 19-year-old Saudi woman, who was forcibly abducted and gang-raped 14 times, was sentenced on March 8, 2007, to 90 lashes for the crime of "meeting a man who was not a relative."
In the 20th century, politicians attempted to staunch violence against women with declarations of the inherent dignity and the equal rights of all human beings. The UN adopted its Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
International Women's Day was founded 98 years ago to recognize and elevate the status of women, but abuse statistics still climb. Why?
I offer a new paradigm from the oldest Biblical text: Genesis. God created man in His image. From man's side, He made woman. In Genesis 1:28, He blessed them and told them both to be fruitful, multiply, subdue the earth and take dominion over it. Dominion was to be accomplished by male and female working together.
Genesis 2:18 says: "And the Lord God said: 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a help meet for him.'" The Hebrew word translated "alone" means "separation." Man was not merely lonely; his "separation" was of a spiritual nature. He had a leaning toward isolation, independence and separation from God.
God's solution was to fashion a "help" for him that he immediately recognized as "bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh." She would provide the "help" which would "surround, protect, aid, succor" him, thus bringing man into a relationship with her and ultimately, fellowship with God.
Women are abused in today's world because of the enmity between women and satan. Satan, understanding woman's intended purpose, tried to gain the upper hand by turning her from the strength of her role.
As God came in the cool of the evening to talk about the tragic events of the day, she exposed "the deceiver." Genesis 3:15 reveals the reason for the ongoing hatred, violence and enmity against women. God put enmity between the woman and satan. It began in the Garden and continues to this day. She would crush his head and continue to expose him throughout the ages. This has led to systematic attempts to silence, discredit and undermine the woman's role in the family and society as a whole.
Abuse of women lays siege to the entire human race. The very perpetrators, ironically, are victims of a broken world. Many are followers of Jesus Christ. In May 2007, 550 Jewish and Christian women from many nations gathered under Knesset auspices at a summit in Jerusalem with the goal "to strengthen and advance the status of women on the basis of Judeo-Christian values." Almost 250 Aglow women from 13 different nations attended.
After 40 years as a women's ministry, Aglow International is a leader in helping elevate the status of women worldwide. It is time to speak out against the abuse of women. This is a spiritual battle between good and evil. God does not want you silenced - satan does.
The writer is President/CEO of Aglow International www.aglow.org